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Author Topic: Let the buyer beware  (Read 474 times)

Offline Madgomer

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Let the buyer beware
« on: December 17, 2019, 07:31:29 PM »
A friend of mine wanted a .458 SOCOM AR, and ended up buying a "complete" upper last year at the big Tulsa gun show.  After putting it on a lower he assembled, he has had nothing but trouble with it and hasn't yet fired a shot.  I offered to take it home & see what I could do to get it running. 

Started with a little web research and learned that it is common for a .458 not to feed well out of a typical AR15 magazine.  Saw a variety of modifications for that, some of which address the root cause (angle of the cartridge) while others just hack out material to provide more clearance for the cartridge to move forward.  Modified a GI magazine for him & that looks good (adjusted the lips to improve the angle of the cartridge).  Bolt wasn't fully closing & extractor wasn't engaging.  Looked at the extractor, it had burrs & didn't appear to have enough "ramp" to slide over the cartridge rim appropriately.  Removed the extractor & with some careful Dremel tool work, got both issues taken care of.  Also learned if you use a standard AR-15 upper on a .458, you have to widen the ejection port or a case cannot be ejected.  Now one would think that if you buy a "complete" .458 upper, that this would have been done, but heavens no, it's still a stock AR15 ejection port.  OK, found a print by Wilson Combat showing the dimensions to open the port to (gotta take off 80 thousandths or more off the bottom edge to make it work).  Before tearing into that, I went back to see if my extractor work resolved the issue of the bolt not closing (yeah, I'm an optimist).  Nope, it made a slight improvement but still not right. I think the slight improvement was just a result of the extractor now engaging the rim. Went ahead and let a fully retracted bolt carrier fly home and got it to close fully (after a couple tries) but charging handle would not allow me to extract the round - stuck tight.  Went ahead and fired that shot (first live round down the barrel) with no mag so the case had some chance of dropping free and it didn't pick up a new round.  The bolt did cycle on the shot but the case took the brunt of the return trip (didn't have time to drop out the magwell.)  Took the upper off & dropped two different factory rounds in (different brands), neither one would freely drop the last 3/8" or so.  I could push them a little further with my pinkie, but getting tighter as it went.   After doing more reading, apparently the .458 got out there and before SAAMI standards could be published for it some people were reverse engineering reamers for it without the blessing (and correct specs) from the original creator.  It wasn't hard to find many other stories on the web of people having problems.  So, I'm now in the process of trying to locate a smith with the real .458 SOCOM reamer to see if this barrel can be rescued, or if he just has to buy a new one from a reputable seller.

The workmanship on this upper was deplorable, and the buyer didn't keep any records on who he got it from.  For someone to put that together with a bad chamber, bad extractor, and an unmodified ejection port so you cannot even get a cartridge back out without dropping the mag is amazing to me - obviously the seller had no knowledge or no conscience or no safeguards in place to keep junk from being shipped.  Very sad.  If I had their name I'd readily share it here with y'all.   

By the way, if any of you know of a smith with a true .458 SOCOM reamer, please send me a PM and I'll give them a call.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 07:34:35 PM by Madgomer »
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Let the buyer beware
« on: December 17, 2019, 07:31:29 PM »
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Offline yari

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2019, 09:40:16 PM »
that is pretty sad. selling junk to anyone that doesn't do their research. buyer beware
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Offline sundowner

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 09:48:24 PM »
The problem with the bolt may be the bolt carrier , I had a similar problem when I tried to put a 6.5 Grendel bolt In a 5.56 bolt carrier .  ##$%#1118
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Offline Madgomer

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2019, 10:00:12 PM »
The problem with the bolt may be the bolt carrier , I had a similar problem when I tried to put a 6.5 Grendel bolt In a 5.56 bolt carrier .  ##$%#1118
At this point I can't rule out an issue with the bolt carrier given all of the other things I've found, but I know for sure there's a chamber issue, as it's evident even without a bolt carrier in the receiver when I just drop a round into the chamber by hand (with upper separated from the lower so I can see what's going on.)  Were you ever able to figure out what was wrong with the bolt carrier you had?  (.458 Socom is supposed to work with a regular AR15 carrier, just need to change the bolt itself due to the larger case rim diameter)
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Offline BeaglePup

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2019, 05:50:42 AM »
That is sad, but I hear so many bad stories about gun show purchases lately I don't think I will ever deal at one again.
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Offline sundowner

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2019, 11:42:50 AM »
The problem with the bolt may be the bolt carrier , I had a similar problem when I tried to put a 6.5 Grendel bolt In a 5.56 bolt carrier .  ##$%#1118
At this point I can't rule out an issue with the bolt carrier given all of the other things I've found, but I know for sure there's a chamber issue, as it's evident even without a bolt carrier in the receiver when I just drop a round into the chamber by hand (with upper separated from the lower so I can see what's going on.)  Were you ever able to figure out what was wrong with the bolt carrier you had?  (.458 Socom is supposed to work with a regular AR15 carrier, just need to change the bolt itself due to the larger case rim diameter)
I happened to have another 6.5 carrier ( 3 uppers ) and it did work in another 6.5 carrier . Also sounds like yours has a short chamber to , this is a problem with some 6.5 barrels to .
« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 11:45:28 AM by sundowner »
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Offline MI_Bowhunter

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2019, 07:37:13 AM »
When I built my 450BM I had to mill some material from the ejection port.    It's unbelievable that a complete upper would not have that work done, as well as the other work.

I have been building my own when I want a new one.  Once you invest in a few tools, it's just more cost effective to do it that way.

I may still pick up a cheapr 223/5.56 if I see a killer deal but anything or the beaten path I will build myself. 
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Offline Madgomer

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2019, 07:56:19 AM »
Yeah MIB, agree that once you have the tools it's easier to just assemble what you want.  I actually found someone to inspect and ream the chamber on this .458, just waiting for the go ahead from the owner.  I know this smith has the right reamer, and for about $100 we can get this gun functioning.
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Offline Madgomer

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2020, 11:17:15 AM »
Thought I'd close the loop with y'all on this one.  The owner of the .458 gave me the green light to take it in for chamber work.  The folks at Rock River Arms were kind enough to do it for me, and I knew they would do it right since they were on the list of shops that actually had the SAAMI spec reamers.  They are only about 30 minutes from my in-laws, and I had to get up there for some home improvement projects anyway, so we loaded it up and hit the road.  They turned it around for me very quickly (a day basically, with New Year's day sandwiched in the middle) and also opened up the ejection port so they could test fire it.

I took three different brands of ammo with me.  Turns out that one of them simply would not chamber even after the machining work was done.  The Buffalo and Underwood ammo ran fine.  I got my calipers out when I got home and found the stuff that wouldn't chamber had cases that were about three thousandths over the other two brands.  RRA believes the ammo supplier simply didn't size the brass before loading.  All three were loaded with Starline brass interestingly.  I should add that before RRA opened up the chamber, none of the ammo would allow the bolt to fully close.

RRA went ahead and added a very light chamfer to the front edge of the mag I took along, in addition to the slight tweaks I made to the feed lips to get it to feed reliably.  They opened up the ejection port about .060" and of course reamed the chamber properly, and test fired it, all for $90.  I feel like we got the owner a bargain on that one.  I made the same mag mods to the second mag the owner provided, and shot both to verify function.  Other than the junk ammo which couldn't be fired (bolt wouldn't close), function was flawless.  It went bang every time, ejected very consistently, and I was able to get it zeroed in although the accuracy was underwhelming and the two brands of ammo had significantly different POI.  Weird thing is that the POI shift was significant left to right (6-8" at 50 yards) rather than vertical.  It's a thumper for sure - I shot it about 20 times and frankly didn't find it very enjoyable to plink with but expect it will do plenty of damage to a critter.   Case closed on this one, time to find another project!
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Offline Madgomer

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2020, 10:44:02 AM »
OK - just one last footnote.  Last week I thought I should drop a note to the manufacturer of the problem ammo to be sure they knew about the situation.  While I was pretty confident they would have long since corrected it, I didn't feel I should ignore it.  The CEO of the company (yeah, he may also be the cook, the janitor, and the assembly line worker too) emailed me back the next day and indicated that was probably some very old ammo based on my description (said they hadn't made any moly lubed stuff for close to ten years) and offered to swap it out for new.  It was a very nice note, he seems like a genuine individual who cares about his customers.  This was SBR ammo out of Brunswick Georgia.  I give him very high marks for his prompt and positive response - really wasn't expecting that.
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Offline yari

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Re: Let the buyer beware
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2020, 11:03:04 AM »
that's the right way to handle a problem.

my buddy had a corrosion issue w/ some Hornady bullets. their response was just the opposite. 'the bullets are old and that %$#$ happens'. he had bought the bullets a year or 2 before from a dealer so he was ticked. Hornady took ZERO responsibility and offered no solution. poor customer service IMO
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